United Church of Christ Office Support Staff Network
United Church of Christ Office Support Staff Network (UCCOSSN) is committed to enabling personal growth, providing mutual support and providing continuing education opportunities to all support staff in local churches, associations, conferences, seminaries, other related UCC bodies, and ministries in the national setting of the United Church of Christ via an Annual Meeting.
Objectives of the Network
- To create a network of UCC Office Support Staff in all settings throughout the denomination.
- To raise the level of professionalism of UCC Office Support Staff.
- To foster dignity and respect for all UCC Office Support Staff .
- To provide continuing education opportunities for UCC Office Support Staff.
- To provide opportunities for fellowship and sharing among “peers”.
- To raise the awareness of local churches, associations, conferences, seminaries, national ministries including UCC related bodies, regarding the vital role and contributions of the UCC Office Support Staff.
All support staff personnel within the denomination and affiliated entities are considered to be members of the UCCOSSN. Our goal continues to be achieving 100 percent active participation from each Conference and national ministry of the United Church of Christ. At present, those active in the Network represent approximately 50% of the Conferences of the United Church of Christ.
- Participation in the UCCOSSN Annual Meeting provides much-needed renewal for the body, mind and soul – a benefit both to the employee and to the ministry served.
- The Network is uniquely positioned to develop a strong communications network, utilizing all available communications technologies, to link office support staff from local churches to Associations, from Associations to Conferences, and from Conferences to the national ministries of the church, helping to disseminate vital information throughout the whole UCC. The Network is uniquely positioned to serve as this kind of information conduit.
- Through its collective work, and the work of individual office support staff throughout the UCC, the UCCOSSN will continue to serve as supporting hands to implement programs that support the vision and mission of the United Church of Christ.
General Synod 16, meeting in Cleveland, Ohio, June 25-30, 1987, adopted the Resolution “United Church of Christ Secretaries/ Support Staff Just Employment Practices.” In adopting this Resolution, General Synod 16 recommended “that all churches, associations, conferences, instrumentalities, and other bodies of the United Church of Christ endorse and support this Resolution and the formation of a United Church of Christ Secretaries/ Support Staff Network,” that would help provide “continuing education opportunities” and “opportunities for education, fellowship and the sharing of information that will benefit not only the individuals but also their roles and participation in all areas of the life of the United Church of Christ.”
The UCCOSSN held its first meeting in 1987 in Winter Park, Florida. The Florida Conference continued to host and underwrite the Annual Meetings for the next nine years. Toward the end of that period, it was agreed that holding Annual Meetings in different geographical locations would elicit greater participation from UCC office support staff around the country.
Beginning with the 11th Annual Meeting in 1996, UCCOSSN gatherings were hosted at the UCC Church House in Cleveland, Ohio and various conferences as follows: Cleveland (1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2018), Connecticut (1997), Rocky Mountain (1999), New York (2001, 2007), Southeast (2003) and Missouri Mid-South (2005) and Wisconsin (2009), New Hampshire (2011), Illinois (2013), North Carolina (2014), Indiana (2015), Maryland (2016). No meetings were held in 2017 and 2019, due to lack of hosting conference, and 2020 and 2021 due to COVID19.
In the beginning, advocacy for just compensation and benefits was a major activity of the UCCOSSN. In April 1999, following a presentation at the UCCOSSN Annual Meeting by then-Pension Boards Executive Vice President, Joan M. Brannick, in which Mrs. Brannick stressed the importance of participation of all employees in the UCC benefits plans, the UCCOSSN wrote a letter to the Cabinet of Conference Ministers expressing concern that despite previous General Synod actions, “many of our support staff, at all settings of the United Church of Christ, are still not receiving the benefits recommended in these voted Resolutions,” and encouraging Conference Ministers “to continue educating their staff and local church pastors regarding this important justice issue.”
In recent years our focus has shifted to education, fellowship, networking, and support of our staff.
Due to various scheduling conflicts and COVID-19, UCCOSSN has not convened since 2018. UCC support staff members are making plans to meet in person in August 2022 provided it is in compliance with local and federal safety guidelines.
Chair: Karen Koza, firstname.lastname@example.org
Chair Emeritus: Lettie Eagar, LMshutterbug@comcast.net
Secretary: Tracy Lovejoy-Kitzweger, email@example.com
Financial Secretary: Kathy Olmsted, firstname.lastname@example.org
Communications Team Leader: Dave Cyril, email@example.com
Fundraiser Team Leader: Jennifer White, firstname.lastname@example.org